Together with the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (Baroness Stedman-Scott), I am today laying in Parliament the post-implementation review of Part 3 of the Energy Act 2013. The review was commissioned in March 2021 by the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (Kwasi Kwarteng), as required by Section 118 of the EA 2013—the Act that established the Office for Nuclear Regulation, the UK’s independent nuclear regulator. The review concluded in March 2022, and the full report has now been laid in Parliament. The full report, alongside the summary report and the joint Government response, will be published on www.gov.uk.
The review was led by an independent reviewer, supported by a dedicated review team from across the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and the Department for Work and Pensions, as the Departments responsible for the policy and sponsorship of the ONR. Evidence was collected from documentary reviews, extensive discussion with the ONR and interviews with external stakeholders. I would like to thank all of those who contributed to the review.
The review found that the objectives of Part 3 of the EA 2013 are being met: the ONR is effectively delivering its regulatory purposes, enabling the safe and secure use and storage of nuclear materials at civil nuclear sites. The review noted that the ONR is seen domestically and internationally as a strong example of principles-based regulation and is respected for its technical ability and regulatory performance.
Having a strong and effective independent regulator is essential to ensuring that civil nuclear facilities and activities are safely and securely operated at all times. This includes robust regulation of the UK’s nuclear legacy, current generating fleet, new nuclear, transport of civil nuclear and radioactive materials, and civil nuclear safeguards.
There are 14 recommendations and 29 suggestions within the review. These support the Government’s strategic priorities, notably our commitment in the British energy security strategy to work with the nuclear regulators to understand the potential for any streamlining or removal of duplication from consenting and licensing. More generally, the recommendations support the ongoing improvement of the regulator’s approach to innovation, proportionality and consistency, and efficiency.
The Government and the ONR welcome the report. The findings will help to ensure the ONR remains a modern, transparent regulator delivering trusted outcomes and value. The findings are aligned with the Government’s public sector reform agenda, supporting effective relationships between public bodies and Government Departments in the interests of the citizens they serve.
An implementation plan has been agreed between DWP, BEIS, and the ONR. BEIS will complete a formal review of progress to be completed and published within 24 months of the review’s publication.